IN SEX CRIMES, EVIDENCE DEPENDS ON GAME OF CHANCE IN HOSPITALS
A woman was attacked last spring in Central Park by two strangers who beat and sexually abused her until she broke free and ran to safety on Manhattan's West Side. The attackers were convicted of aggravated sexual abuse and are serving long prison terms. Another woman was attacked last summer by a man who dragged her under the Coney Island Boardwalk, where he punched her and raped her and told her that he was going to put me six feet under, according to her grand jury testimony. He is a serial sex offender who secured a lenient plea bargain for attempted assault. He will be eligible for a parole hearing in January. These drastically different outcomes were the result of what prosecutors, physicians and victims' advocates describe as a game of chance inside emergency rooms at New York City hospitals. The first woman received a thorough examination that documented evidence of the attack but the second woman did not. The levels of competence in administering the exams varies widely, some victims get meticulous treatment but many do not. This uneven quality of care, experts say, can mean an uneven quality of evidence with which to prosecute some of society's most malevolent criminals.